On November 26, 2021, Taiwan announced that it would add six African countries – South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe – to its list of “key high-risk countries,” effective November 29, 2021. Effective December 1, Taiwan also added Malawi, Mozambique, Egypt, and Nigeria to the list of key high-risk countries. Individuals who have traveled in any of these ten countries within the past fourteen days must quarantine at government group quarantine facilities for fourteen days and complete an additional seven-day self-health management period. The announcements are part of Taiwan’s effort to slow the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
On November 29, 2021, the Australian government announced that it would delay its plan to reopen the country to fully vaccinated visa holders in light of the identification of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The delay is effective through at least December 15, 2021, and applies to students, skilled workers, and those carrying humanitarian, working holiday, and family visas. In its announcement, the government cited the need to gather more information to better understand the omicron variant, including its transmissibility, severity, and interaction with existing vaccines.
The United Arab Emirates’ (“UAE”) most recent five-year multiple entry visa was launched by the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (“GDRFA“) on November 22, 2021 aiming to create flexibility for professionals, especially the employees of multinational companies. The new visa scheme allows foreign employees to visit their employer in the UAE and stay in the country for up to ninety (90) days with the possibility of extending their stay for another ninety (90) days.
The new visa is limited to businesses having an existing entity in Dubai (or businesses who are in the process of establishing an entity in Dubai). In addition, the visa allows its holder to perform specific activities in the country limited to business meetings and similar unpaid work activities. Further clarification in this regard is expected to be provided in the coming days.
To be an eligible applicant for the new visa, the visitor must provide:
- a passport with six-month validity at the time of submission;
- a passport-size photograph;
- medical insurance valid for the UAE; and
- a bank statement covering the prior six (6) months.
Due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, effective November 30, 2021 all new foreign travelers are in principle banned from entering Japan. This ban on foreign entry will be effective for a month and may be extended further depending on the infection rates in Japan and globally. Visa applications and valid new visa holders are also prevented from entering the country. Continue reading on Mayer Brown’s COVID-19 Blog.
Effective January 1, 2022, Switzerland will grant complete freedom of movement to Croatian nationals. The government’s announcement means that Croatians will soon be able to live and work in Switzerland subject to the same immigration and work authorization rules as other EU nationals.
In response to the identification of the omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, several countries around the world have implemented new travel restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the disease. In the Americas region alone, several countries—including Brazil, Canada, Chile, and the United States—have announced new restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals. Other countries, such as Mexico, have insisted that such measures are of little use.
On November 26, 2021, in response to the discovery of the omicron variant of the virus which causes COVID-19, the Biden Administration issued a Presidential Proclamation banning the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe during the past 14-day period. This ban comes only 19 days after the U.S. government ended its COVID-19 travel bans worldwide and replaced them with a vaccine mandate for travel to the United States. The Proclamation is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on November 29, 2021 and does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the U.S. that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on November 29, 2021.
Effective December 1, 2021, the Australian government will allow fully vaccinated travelers holding a Subclass 482 – Temporary Skills Shortage visa to travel to Australia without applying for a travel exemption. The announcement follows the loosening of travel restrictions for Australian citizens and permanent residents and marks a significant step in the country’s reopening of its borders to international travel.
On November 15, 2021, the Chilean government announced major changes to the country’s border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised version of the “Protected Borders Plan” will go into effect on December 1. The government’s move follows another relaxation of entry and exit restrictions earlier this month.
Relaxed Entry and Exit Requirements
Notable updates to the Protected Borders Plan include:
- All exit restrictions are lifted. Travelers will be able to leave Chile regardless of nationality, age, or vaccination status.
- Travelers who have received a booster dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine will be able to enter Chile without undergoing quarantine or testing requirements. The booster dose must be from within the past six months and must be stated on the traveler’s Pase de Movilidad (Mobility Pass).
- Foreign nationals holding a Pase de Movilidad may enter the country through the border crossings at Chacalluta (Región de Arica y Parinacota), Colchane (Región de Tarapacá) and Pino Hachado (Región de La Araucanía). Such foreign nationals may also continue to enter through the Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, and Punta Arenas airports.
- Children under age 6 may enter the country regardless of nationality or vaccination status.
Travelers who hold a Pase de Movilidad but have not received a booster shot must undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival and must quarantine until a negative test result is received.
Salvoconducto for Unvaccinated Foreign Nationals
Nonresident foreign nationals who do not hold a Pase de Movilidad and who do not have their vaccines validated may still enter Chile by securing a “Salvoconducto” (Safe Passage). Nonresident foreign nationals may be eligible for a Salvoconducto if they meet any of the exceptions listed in Supreme Decree No. 102. The exceptions include foreign nationals who, for reasons which may not be postponed, must enter the country for business management purposes, paying special attention to the convenience or usefulness of the country. Regardless of their nationality, nonresident foreign nationals who enter with a Salvoconducto must undergo PCR testing for COVID-19 and complete a five-day quarantine without exception, even if the result of the PCR test is negative.
Please continue monitoring COVID-19 legal developments on our blog, The Mobile Workforce.
On November 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Policy Alert and new policy guidance addressing Employment Authorization Document (EAD) auto-extensions for H-4, E, and L spouses and to clarify that E and L dependent spouses will be considered work authorized incident to nonimmigrant status. USCIS confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take steps to modify Forms I-94 to distinguish E and L dependent spouses from E and L dependent children. Until Forms I-94 are updated, E and L spouses will continue to require an EAD (or an automatically extended EAD) as evidence of employment authorization. Under the terms of a settlement entered into on November 10, 2021, the changes to L-2 Forms I-94 will be made within 120 days.